By Cindy Filipenko
Mt. Currie’s participation in the Sub-Regional Land Use Study has yet to be confirmed.
The issue was discussed at the second tri-annual joint meeting of the Village of Pemberton and Mt. Currie Band.
The Sub-Regional Land Use Study, which is intended to explore Pemberton, Area C and Mt. Currie’s current land use plans with an eye to creating an overall plan, was initiated by the Village of Pemberton and accepted by Area C.
Mayor Jordan Sturdy described the project as an “excellent exercise” that would mark the first time the communities had worked together in a planning capacity.
“Both the VOP and SLRD have always planned in an exclusive, not an inclusive way,” he said. “What we want to do is pretend there are no boundaries and then re-impose boundaries and make sure they make sense.
“I think the whole point of a collaborative process is very important. It’s something new. It hasn’t happened before.”
Mt. Currie’s new senior administrator, Daniel Sailland, approached participation in the study cautiously.
“We’ve decided to make sure we’re doing our due diligence. We want to make sure we’re covering our bases and not jumping into something. We’ll be looking at the terms of reference at our Nov. 14 meeting,” said Sailland.
Sturdy stressed the importance of the Lil’wat Nation’s participation.
“We feel it’s very important to add the knowledge and desires of Mt. Currie to the program,” he said.
Sailland assured the mayor that the reluctance to agree to participation in the study is based in the desire to fully examine the study and its potential impact. The Lil’wat Nation released the first phase of its comprehensive land use plan last month.
Asked whether the study would be binding, the major admitted he was unsure.
“It’s important to enter that study knowing if there’s a next step,” said Sailland. “We need to make sure we all have the tools to understand what it is that we’re talking about.”
The discussion ended with Sturdy saying that he hoped their participation would be forthcoming as there were “a bunch of other processes that are waiting for the outcome of this.”
While agreement on participating in the study is pending, common ground was found on another issue of joint community interest.
Mt. Currie and Pemberton councils voted unanimously to embark on a study to ascertain the feasibility of establishing a drug and alcohol treatment centre in the area.
Mt. Currie Councillor Bruce Edmonds, who sits on the Winds of Change Steering Committee, spoke of the importance of having access to substance abuse treatment within the community.
“It’s more cost effective and efficient to keep people close to home,” said Edmonds.
Establishing a centre is a goal of the Winds of Change: A Healing Vision, a document that governs the two communities health and wellness activities.
Pemberton has received approval in principle for a $35,000 grant from the Union of British Columbian Municipalities to undertake the study.